The sun rises, and you stared at the ceiling all night! Again!
You start to panic about getting through the day after a restless night. “I’m going to sleep tonight,” you tell yourself when you get out of bed and exit the door. Then you spend a whole day worrying about not getting enough sleep tonight. This cycle is a fact of living with chronic insomnia. It is a painful struggle!
Although good sleep is top of mind for insomniacs, most of them have poor sleep habits. Insomniacs often have different thought processes associated with rest. Sleep regimen is a set of practices that can help you get a good night’s sleep and reduce chronic insomnia. Just as daily dental hygiene enables you to avoid cavities, good sleep hygiene promotes healthy rest.
Stimulus control is a particular type of sleep hygiene that works well for many people with insomnia. If you have had chronic insomnia for some time, you may start to be afraid of your bedroom. People with insomnia generate negative feelings about their bed and their bedroom. When you are lying in bed and worried about not sleeping, you think that the room is an unpleasant place. A method called stimulation control therapy can help you develop new connections with your bed and bedroom. Progressive relaxation works by relaxing one muscle at a time. The relaxation of each muscle slowly soothes and relaxes the whole body. A progressive muscle relaxation is a form of sleep hygiene effective against insomnia, in addition to anxiety; in general, chronic insomnia is a burden to bear.
Over time, the struggle to sleep can become an obsession. If you have insomnia, you can stay in bed for too long. You are trying to make up for lost sleep. But staying in bed disrupts your daily rhythm. When you stay in bed for more extended periods, your sleep schedule will be disturbed the following evening.
Sleep restriction therapy can ease your body to improve natural sleep. Over time, the quality and effectiveness of sleep will increase. The aim of sleep restriction therapy is to improve the performance of your sleep. This means that the time you spend in bed correlates with the time you sleep. Restricted sleep therapy is the most effective form of sleep hygiene. Chronic insomnia is a vicious cycle. Your sleep patterns are chaos. You can’t sleep, so you fear you won’t be able to sleep, so you can’t sleep again.
Insomnia is rooted in anxiety, so some form of treatment can help. This treatment, called cognitive therapy or CBT, is effective in changing unnecessary thoughts about sleep. During CBT, you work with a trained therapist to determine patterns of your thinking and anxiety. Then you and your therapist adopt strategies to reshape these patterns.
Insomnia is so disturbing that it is one of the most common reasons why people see their health care provider. You have a powerful biological desire to sleep, but sometimes your mind interferes with this impulse.
Many factors affect your ability to relax in your life. The key to dealing with insomnia is to determine what these factors are and change them.